3 steps to operational excellence
in Learning | OPEX

How to Transform Your Business with Process Mining

3 steps to operational excellence

Operational excellence (OPEX) is key to business resilience and growth. Companies that work toward operational excellence can increase efficiency, reduce costs, and improve the customer experience by understanding and optimizing their processes and making them more resilient. In this way, operational excellence can help companies achieve their long-term strategic goals and manage growth, even during challenging times.

So why is it that many companies still struggle to keep up with their OPEX strategy? The key lies in business processes. They are what keeps the company running and they can make or break success. So, achieving operational excellence means striving for process excellence and tackling the challenges along the way.

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What are the biggest process challenges organizations face?

In general, the stakeholders know that their processes aren’t ideal, that there are inefficiencies, waste, bottlenecks, and improvement potentials. There often also are vague ideas of where a problem lies but pinpointing it and taking targeted measures is where it becomes tricky. So, companies looking to transform their processes are all facing similar challenges to varying degrees:

  • Lack of visibility
    There is simply no complete visibility into the as-is state and very limited insight into the details of their processes and all the possible exceptions.

  • Identifying root causes of problems
    Processes are prone to deviate from the norm quickly. As a result, quality and compliance become unpredictable.

  • Complexity of processes
    Organizations are dealing with a process behemoth that has grown and evolved over time. Unfortunately, this includes redundant steps and controls, manual workarounds, and conflicting resources.

    As a result, processes have become fragmented, spanning multiple teams and systems.

  • Targeted automation
    Process automation is a key effort for many companies. It promises to speed up the processing of monotonous, repetitive tasks while freeing up employees for complex tasks that require human intervention.

    However, the underlying complexity makes it difficult to tactically automate a process. And automation for automation’s sake does not solve the ongoing problems. It merely ensures that they continue to run automatically.

To get the best out of an OPEX initiative, the processes need to be understood and optimized. But how can companies, with thousands of processes, tackle this massive feat?

Enabling Operational Excellence with Process Mining

Process Mining is the tool that makes visible what previously was hidden. Thus, in just three steps (or phases), Process Mining enables companies to overcome these challenges one by one.

Step 1: Visualize

Process Mining uses data accumulated in enterprise systems during ongoing operations to create a detailed picture of the current as-is process. This includes all actual paths, in what order a process is executed, deviations, lead times and more.

This solves the transparency problem, allows stakeholders to compare and contrast different ways of executing processes, and provides a fundamental understanding of what is happening in the enterprise.

Step 2: Identify

With the Process Mining tool, the process can be further explored to identify bottlenecks, optimization opportunities, compliance violations, and most importantly, their most likely root causes.

This, in turn, enables stakeholders to identify the most pressing issues, the right strategy and countermeasures, and the right places to act on the insights.

Ultimately, this also makes Process Mining a top technology for successful business transformation, as it captures the current state better than any other tool and is a constant companion on the path to transformation.

Step 3: Act

Because processes are unique in their own little ways, what action means can be different from company to company. Depending on what companies find and identify in the first two steps, they can start to improve their processes. The key here is that they know what actions are necessary, what to prioritize and who to put in charge to solve a problem.

Typical measures include, but are not limited to:

  • removing waste and simplifying or redesigning the process,
  • standardizing processes according to best-practice guidelines
  • monitoring the execution and implementation of changes
  • introducing targeted automation measures
  • transforming the processes and the business step by step

Once the initial transformation is complete, companies can use Process Mining as an ongoing optimization project. When the biggest problems have been solved and processes are running smoothly, Process Mining becomes a tool for benchmarking performance, as well as a quick indicator when something is going wrong, so that immediate action can be taken.

Process Mining provides the visibility that is the gate way to true operational excellence. To make decisions that have the right impact, take actions that matter and keep track of change, stakeholders must first know what is going on in their business. Process Mining makes it possible to identify root causes, the best and most crucial automation opportunities, and it brings clarity about the complexity of current processes.

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